J.J. Bola

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J.J. Bola


Born
Kinshasa, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the
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A Kinshasa born, London raised writer, poet, educator and workshop facilitator. London and UK based, but also international; Paris, Brussels, Boston etc, most recently San Francisco and Oakland, where he won the Oakland Poetry Slam. Performs regularly at shows and festivals such as Tongue Fu, Vocals & Verses, Chill Pill, The Round House, Ventnor Fringe, etc as well as Universities; SOAS, UCL, Oxford, Lincoln, University of Birmingham, Standford University and Merrit College in the Bay and other public institutions. Also includes various Radio and Television appearances.

JJ Bola has successfully published two books of poetry Elevate and Daughter of the Sun (ebook). His third, and latest, is his most comprehensive poetry collection WORD, which
...more

Average rating: 3.89 · 2,667 ratings · 461 reviews · 7 distinct worksSimilar authors
Mask Off: Masculinity Redef...

3.97 avg rating — 1,863 ratings — published 2019 — 13 editions
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The Selfless Act of Breathing

3.62 avg rating — 609 ratings — published 2021 — 9 editions
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No Place To Call Home

3.86 avg rating — 158 ratings5 editions
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Word

4.47 avg rating — 15 ratings — published 2015 — 2 editions
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REFUGE: The Collected Poetr...

4.50 avg rating — 12 ratings2 editions
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Elevate

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 8 ratings — published 2014 — 2 editions
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Daughter Of the Sun

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 3 ratings — published 2014
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More books by J.J. Bola…

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Quotes by J.J. Bola  (?)
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“Patriarchy can seem ubiquitous. It can feel all consuming, all encompassing; controlling every part of your life, from the way you see yourself to the way you see others, from your relationships and friendships, to familial ties, from identity to opportunities and experiences. Yet at the same time, it can also seem invisible.”
JJ Bola, Mask Off: Masculinity Redefined

“refuge imagine how it feels to be chased out of home.
to have your grip ripped. loosened from your
fingertips, something you so dearly held on to.
like a lover’s hand that slips when pulled away
you are always reaching. my father would speak of home. reaching.
speaking of familiar faces. girl next door
who would eventually grow up to be my mother.
the fruit seller at the market. the lonely man
at the top of the road who nobody spoke to.
and our house at the bottom of the street
lit up by a single flickering lamp
where beyond was only darkness. there
they would sit and tell stories
of monsters that lurked and came only at night
to catch the children who sat and listened to
stories of monsters that lurked.
this is how they lived. each memory buried.
an artefact left to be discovered by archaeologists.
the last words on a dying family member’s lips. this
was sacred. not even monsters could taint it.
but there were monsters that came during the day.
monsters that tore families apart with their giant hands.
and fingers that slept on triggers. the sound of gunshots
ripping through the sky became familiar like the tapping
of rain fall on a window sill. monsters that would kill
and hide behind speeches, suits and ties. monsters
that would chase families away forcing them to leave
everything behind. i remember
when we first stepped off the plane.
everything was foreign. unfamiliar. uninviting.
even the air in my lungs left me short of breath. we came here to find refuge. they called us refugees
so, we hid ourselves in their language
until we sounded just like them.
changed the way we dressed to look just like them.
made this our home until we lived just like them
and began to speak of familiar faces. girl next door
who would grow up to be a mother. the fruit seller
at the market. the lonely man at the top of the road
who nobody spoke to. and our house
at the bottom of the street lit up by a flickering lamp
to keep away the darkness. there
we would sit and watch police that lurked
and came only at night to arrest the youths who sat
and watched police that lurked and came only at night.
this is how we lived. i remember one day i heard them say to me
they come here to take our jobs
they need to go back to where they came from
not knowing that i was one of the ones who came.
i told them that a refugee is simply
someone who is trying to make a home.
so next time when you go home
tuck your children in and kiss your families
goodnight, be glad that the monsters
never came for you.
in their suits and ties.
never came for you.
in the newspapers with the media lies.
never came for you.
that you are not despised. and know that deep inside
the hearts of each and every one of us
we are all always reaching
for a place that we can call home.”
J.J. Bola, REFUGE: The Collected Poetry of JJ Bola

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